MAGIC WAND CASTS HER WINNING SPELL IN THE ARKLE FINANCE CHESHIRE OAKS AT BOODLES MAY FESTIVAL ON CITY DAY
Magic Wand cast her spell on her opponents when making all the running to win the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks (for the Robert Sangster Memorial Cup) in impressive style on City Day at the Boodles May Festival meeting to open the 2018 season at Chester Racecourse today.
Drawn on the inside rail in stall one, jockey Ryan Moore set the pace aboard the Galileo filly who flicked her ears in running. Entering the straight Moore asked the filly to quicken and she opened up a margin of three and a half lengths from Forever Together, occupying second place.
“Obviously we’re very pleased. She’s a big filly with scope, who is improving. Ryan got a feel of her; she was looking round and learning. It bodes well and puts her in the mix for the Oaks,” explained Kevin Buckley, representing the Ballydoyle stable winning connections.
“I didn’t have a lot of room when I asked him to win his race,” explained James Doyle in the winners’ enclosure after riding Young Rascal, sent off at 10/3, to win the Centennial Celebration MBNA Chester Vase Stakes. Trainer William Haggas added: “He stayed on well. He’s a slow learner and there are people on both sides of the track and it’s not straightforward for a green horse. He’s doing alright and is entitled to run (in the Investec Derby) he’s got half a chance and they’ve got to stay. He’s got a pronounced knee action about him, the ground has dried but it’s not too quick.”
The Stellar Group Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes was won by the 6/5 favourite No Lippy who maintained a lead throughout for jockey P.J. McDonald. Representing the winning trainer Mark Johnston, his son Charlie said: “She was green when she won at Doncaster and she learnt a lot. She wasn’t doing a lot in front; she’s straight forward and may go straight to Ascot. “
The Boodles Diamond Handicap Stakes was billed as a burn-up as speedy three-year-olds set a brisk pace in the race. Runners fanned out across the track in front of the stands and provided top-weight Spoof, ridden by Callum Shepherd with a clear route to come through horses and score by half a length. Successful trainer Charles Hills said: “He hit the line well and we might have to look down the listed route now. He is in Epsom Dash, but that is a hard race for three-year-olds. This meeting is one of the highlights of the year.”
Chief Ironside, returned at 14/1 raced in second place behind Rockesbury in the Deepbridge Capital Maiden Stakes. Jockey Kieran Shoemark sent hismount on and overhauled the leader to record a three-length victory over Infrastructure for trainer William Jarvis.
Owner Marwan Koukash recorded his first winner of the year at Chester Racecourse when 13/2 chance Gabrial The Saint accelerated in the straight to record success in the Eversheds Sutherland Handicap Stakes. “I had a good draw and a perfect run round. I had to keep him up to his work but there are no excuses on the ground today, it’s good,” said successful jockey Paul Hanagan.
The Greenhous Handicap Stakes concluded the racing action of the afternoon. The Feathered Nest, returned at 7/1 provided a quick double for trainer Richard Fahey, jockey Paul Hanagan and owner Marwan Koukash. “Chester Racecourse is already treating me well, it’s pleasing to have a double on the first day of the season. Hopefully there will be plenty more to come,” said Koukash.
A crowd of 15,539 race-goers attended the opening day of Boodles May Festival.
Ladies Day is the theme of day two the Boodles May Festival at Chester Racecourse, tomorrow, Thursday, 10 May. The seven-race card begins at 1.50pm.